What sold Mass Effect 1 (and its world) to me, was that moment on the citadel, still very early in the game. Shepard starts out in the human embassy. All embassies are in the same “wing” of the citadel, so walking into all the other embassies was the first thing I did. Some civilizations were deemed so unimportant, that they were stuffed into the same room even. One of them has the Elcor and Volus in it (I think) and the Volus ambassador complains, because the humans get bigger influence, although they arrived last on the citadel. Whether they are actually getting the short end of the stick wasn’t entirely clear to me, but just knowing that there are several factions with their own agendas, actual politics, made this world work. It gave this universe life. It made it interesting.

ME:A has none of that stuff. The helios cluster is an empty, isolated place in comparison. There are no new places/civilizations/cultures […] to discover. Even the ones brought from the old series were essentially robbed of their culture, because now, they all just blend together as AI members. They are empty faces without meaning now.

This even swaps over to multiplayer. In ME3, most of the maps were very beautiful, incredibly detailed, with many animated objects which made everything feel… if not alive then at least functional. It was always obvious at first glance, if a map was supposed to be on the Asari homeworld or if it was a Cerberus base. Everything was this well established. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the mp maps in ME:A ugly or anything, BUT in comparison they clearly belong in generic, boring categories. There is maybe one map that stands out for me, the rest is just serviceable. This is the complete opposite of ME3, because there they had one map I didn’t like, all the others were good or great.

I don’t want to do the dead horse thing and yet I can’t help to notice, that the faces of some of the mp characters look better than most in the sp campaign. So it’s not like they can’t do them right. The voices on the other hand… The Asari vanguard in ME3 was voiced by Laura Bailey (I’m quite sure) and therefore she sounds great, meanwhile the voices of mp characters in ME:A sound like various people “from around the office” recorded them and they forgot to re-record these placeholders with real voice actors. Charging with the human female vanguard sounds like the Wilhelm scream. I… just don’t know man.

What also let me down a little, is that the enemies were so much more fun to fight in ME3’s mp. The enemies in ME:A’s mp feel as if they just split into easy and hard and that’s it. ME3 had a relatively wide cast of easy, medium, supporting, annoying and hard opponents. For all 4 factions. I still remember the first time I encountered a Cerberus engineer placing his turret. Or how serious fighting phantoms could be (at least if you didn’t have stasis). ME:A can’t compete. Its enemies mostly look/feel same.

Also don’t read:

MP bugs
My main ME:A post


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